By Hassan Zaggi
In the next few days, Nigeria will join other countries of the world to halt the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 in the country.
This is premised on the fact that Nigeria will receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday by 10am, all things being equal.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, gave this indication at the formal launch of a home grown COVID-19 strategy christened: TEACH, for the vaccination of eligible persons and the Electronic Management of Immunization Data System in Nigeria, in Abuja, Monday,
He urged all eligible Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccination when it is their turn.
This, according to him, is the only way “we can achieve herd immunity to stop the community transmission of this deadly virus.”
On its arrival, the vaccine will be administered in three phases starting with health care workers.
Ehanire stressed that: “I assure you that we are inching closer to gaining control of this pandemic, with all the emphasis the Ministry of Health has placed on the various pillars of our overall response strategy; from community engagement and risk communication, to improving Covid-19 case management, to maintaining routine and essential medical services, to providing more timely physical, and eventually financial access to healthcare service, during personal health emergency, so that we do not suffer decline in other areas of healthcare, and now to access of all eligible Nigerians to vaccine administration.”
The Minister, however, warned that: “Vaccines that are not approved by NAFDAC will be determined as dangerous, and will be seized by Customs Services and NAFDAC, who are on high alert for illegal vaccine importation. Fake vaccines already abound in the illegal market.
“The Federal Government is in a position to handle all, I emphasize ALL, requests and wishes from all areas. We have received requests from foreign embassies and International Organizations, which will all be professionally addressed.”
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said that in the first phase of the vaccination healthcare workers, frontline workers, ports of entry (air, land, and seaports), Military, COVID- 19 rapid response team (RRT), laboratory network, policemen, and petrol station workers and Strategic leaders will benefit while the second phase include older adults aged 50 years and above and those with co-morbidities aged 18 – 49 years of age.
On the other hand, the phase three will include those in states/LGAs with high disease burden and who missed phases 1 and 2 and followed by other eligible population as vaccines become available.
The vaccination, according to him, will take a period of two years to cover the entire country.
Explaining the TEACH concept, Dr. Shuaib said: “It stands for (T) Traditional Vaccination Campaign Approach , (E) Electronic Self- Registration by Eligible Nigerians, (A) Assisted Electronic Registration of Eligible Nigerians, (C) Concomitant Vaccination alongside Electronic Registration and (H) House-to-House Electronic Registration